Sesame oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. The oil is one of the earliest-known crop-based oils. Worldwide mass modern production is limited due to the inefficient manual harvesting process required to extract the oil.
In South India, before the advent of modern refined oils produced on a large scale, sesame oil was traditionally used for curries and gravies. It continues to be used, particularly in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, mixed with foods that are hot and spicy, as it neutralizes the heat. It is often mixed in with a special spice powder that accompanies idli and dosa as well as rice mixed with spice powders (such as paruppu podi).